Congressman Introduces Pro-Life Bill Banning Late-Term Abortions After 20 Weeks

National   Steven Ertelt   Jan 24, 2019   |   7:44PM    Washington, DC

A top pro-life congressman has introduced the Pain Capable Unborn Child Protection Act, legislation that would ban abortions after 20 weeks. The bill highlights how unborn babies feel intense pain when they are killed in abortions.

This is a bill that would save as many as 18,000 unborn babies form abortions each and every year.

Over one hundred House Members today joined Congressman Chris Smith supporting the new bill.

“The majority of Americans—some 59 percent according to a recent poll—support legal protection for pain-capable unborn children,” lead sponsor Rep. Chris Smith (R-NJ) said upon introduction of the legislation. “Today we know that unborn babies not only die but suffer excruciating pain during dismemberment abortion—a cruelty that rips arms and legs off a helpless child. This tragic human rights abuse must end.”

In discussing the pain-capable legislation, Smith told LifeNews that he and many others highlight the life-affirming joy of babies born prematurely at 20 weeks who survive. For example, Smith said, “Micah Pickering was the size of a dollar bill when he was born; today, he is a thriving six-year-old. My bill would protect unborn babies the same age as Micah from being aborted.”

“Preemies, like Micah, are surviving earlier and healthier as technology and medical science advance,” Smith said. “They should be treated humanely, with expertise and compassion, not with the cruelty of a painful abortion. Unborn children are our nation’s littlest patients. Micah is the face of the pro-life movement.”

The National Right to Life Committee applauded introduction of the bill and told LifeNews that, since 2010, National Right to Life and its state affiliates have led the effort to protect pain-capable unborn children, starting with enactment of model legislation in Nebraska.

Sixteen states have enacted the National Right to Life model legislation, and the law is currently in effect in 15. The Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act was developed from National Right to Life’s model. The legislation has previously passed the U.S. House of Representatives and has garnered a majority of votes in the U.S. Senate.

However, Democrats blocked the bill last year in the Senate.

Unfortunately, because Republicans don’t have 60 votes in the chamber to overcome the filibuster, Democrats successfully stopped the bill. The vote came after the White House indicated President Donald Trump would sign the bill into law.

National Right to Life President Carol Tobias said, “We are proud to stand with pro-life hero Congressman Smith in encouraging the U.S. House to protect pain-capable unborn children. One-fourth of premature infants now survive when born at this stage – and there is strong evidence that were a child to be aborted at that stage, they would experience great pain, as they are torn limb from limb in late abortions.”

Like the state bills, the proposed federal law would generally extend legal protect to unborn humans beginning at 20 weeks fetal age (22 weeks of pregnancy), based on congressional findings that by that point (and even earlier) the unborn child has the capacity to experience great pain during an abortion.

Jennifer Popik, J.D., legislative director for National Right to Life, added, “These are very developed babies – these babies are capable of feeling pain and are considered by the medical profession to be a second patient. This legislation has saved lives, driving abortionists out of states who are performing abortions on these babies. And this legislation has the power to speak to the people of this country, highlighting, that where this bill is not law, it is legal to kill these very developed unborn children.”

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President Trump condemned late-term abortions and supported the bill during his 2018 March for Life address.

Noting the 45th anniversary of Roe v. Wade, Trump lamented that the United States is one of only seven countries in the world that allows elective abortions after 20 weeks.

“As you all know, Roe vs. Wade has resulted in some of the most permissive abortion laws anywhere in the world,” Trump told the crowd.

“For example, in the United States, it’s one of only seven countries to allow elective late-term abortions, along with China, North Korea, and others,” the president said. “Right now in a number of states, the laws allow a baby to be born from his or her mother’s womb in the ninth month. It is wrong. It has to change.”

“I strongly supported the House of Representatives Pain-Capable bill, which would end painful, late-term abortions nationwide,” Trump said. “I call upon the Senate to pass this important law and send it to my desk for signing.”

During the House debate, Smith talked about the gruesome nature of late-term abortions.

A former abortionist, Dr. Anthony Levatino, testified before Congress that he had performed 1,200 abortions—over 100 late-term abortions up to 24 weeks.

Dr. Levatino described what the abortionist actually does to the helpless child. “Imagine if you can that you are a pro-choice obstetrician/gynecologist like I was.”  Using a Sopher 13” clamp with rows of ridges or teeth, “grasp anything you can” inside the womb.  “Once you’ve grasped something inside, squeeze on the clamp to set the jaws and pull hard—really hard. You feel something let go and out pops a fully formed leg about six inches long.  Reach in again and grasp anything you can…and out pops an arm.” He noted that “a second trimester D&E abortion is a blind procedure.”  He said, “Reach in again and again with that clamp and tear out the spine, intestines, heart and lungs.”

Smith’s bipartisan bill, the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act of 2019, contains additional provisions to ensure that two physicians are present to provide care to an unborn child who survives an abortion, and states that the baby must be transported and admitted to a hospital.

Sixteen states have enacted similar laws that ban abortions after 20 weeks. These include Ohio, Texas, Nebraska, Idaho, Oklahoma, Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana, Arkansas, North Dakota, South Dakota, West Virginia, Wisconsin, South Carolina, Kentucky and Kansas.

During the hearing on the last bill, former abortion practitioner Anthony Levatino told members of the committee the gruesome details of his former abortion practice and how he became pro-life following the tragic automobile accident of his child.

Another bombshell dropped during the hearing came from Dr. Maureen Condic, who is Associate Professor of Neurobiology and Adjunct Professor of Pediatrics at the University of Utah School of Medicine. She testified that the unborn child is capable of reacting to pain as early as 8-10 weeks. This is when most abortions in America take place.

Americans strongly support legislation that would ban late-term abortions and protect babies who are capable of feeling intense pain during an abortion.

Currently, 16 states have pain-capable unborn child protection laws in effect, Kentucky being the most recent. Other states are considering similar bills.

Together, these laws potentially are saving thousands of babies from painful, late-term abortions. There were at least 5,770 late-term abortions at or after 21 weeks of pregnancy in 2013 in the U.S., according to the Centers for Disease Control. Another approximate 8,150 abortions took place between 18 weeks and 20 weeks, the CDC reports.

Though abortion advocates deny the science of fetal pain at 20 weeks, researchers have fully established fetal pain at 20 weeks or earlier. Dr. Steven Zielinski, an internal medicine physician from Oregon, is one of the leading researchers into it. He first published reports in the 1980s to validate research showing evidence for unborn pain.

At 20 weeks, the unborn child has all the parts in place – the pain receptors, spinal cord, nerve tracts, and thalamus – needed for transmitting and feeling pain. The unborn child responds to touch as early as week 6; and by week 18, pain receptors have appeared throughout the child’s body.

Dr. Colleen A. Malloy, a professor of neonatology at Northwestern University’s Feinberg School of Medicine, told a U.S. Senate committee last year that “anesthesiologists, and surgeons use pain medication” for unborn babies at the 20 week stage when performing surgery, “because it’s supported by the literature completely.”

“I could never imagine subjecting my tiny patients to a horrific procedure such as those that involve limb detachment or cardiac injection,” Malloy added.

This bill is based on model legislation developed by National Right to Life in 2010, and is in effect in Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Texas, West Virginia, and Wisconsin.

The Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act is sponsored by Senator Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), along with 46 cosponsors, and has been one of the right-to-life movement’s top legislative priorities. The operative language is identical to H.R. 36, approved by the House of Representatives on October 3, 2017. This legislation extends general protection to unborn children who are at least 20 weeks beyond fertilization (which is equivalent to 22 weeks of pregnancy—about the start of the sixth month).